Depression: Blockbuster or Indie success?

A disclaimer before we begin: this post is based on my own experience and how it has affected me. I’m well aware that many people have it better, worse and different to me.

Okay, with that out of the way and before we begin, I’d like you to image what a depressed person looks like: how they dress, what they’re doing, what they do for a living…

Got it? Good. Now, I’m not going to be all preachy about how anyone can be mentally ill, just like anyone can have the flu. Not only is it obvious, but it you’re searching on a tag that gets you here, you’ve heard it all before.

VincentThat said, you’re probably picturing someone middle-aged, drink-reliant and you might throw in ‘artistic’ if you’re feeling generous. You’re thinking of someone who can barely function when Churchill’s ‘black dog’ hits, but who is otherwise brilliant. If you’re one of my Doctor Who fan readers, you may be thinking of Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor. In truth, depression can be like that. It can also be different.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come up with another wafer-thin metaphor to describe it. I can divide my own depression into two horror movie themed categories: Hollywood blockbuster and low-budget indie flick.

In a blockbuster, you have a big, terrifying monster. It might be an immortal serial killer or a clown-dragon-nun from Mars. Whatever it is, it’ll be terrifying, loud and impossible to escape; SFX coming out of its ears.

This is the kind of depression that’s easy to identify in the street. It’s the guy railing or crying at the lack of cinnamon in Starbucks or the lateness of his train. It’s hard to battle when you’re in the midst of it, because it’s such an all-encompassing tsunami of emotion. That emotion is everything there is, and everything feeds it.  Once it’s over and normal service resumes, however, it’s hard to imagine what got you so upset in the first place, and the opinions therein can be filed under ‘depressive’ and never considered again. This is if you’re one of the lucky ones like me, for whom this state itself isn’t ‘normal service’.

The other kind is that one movie you’re cinephile friend told you you had to see. It’s low-budget, slow-paced and was probably filmed in a language that isn’t your own. It’s a movie where the guy you fell in love with in the first reel was the monster all along; the one that makes you slide your eyes over to whatever potential-murderer you happen to be watching the movie with. It’s the kind of movie that feels like it could happen, and sticks with you longer than you’re happy to admit.

This the kind of depression I get most frequecanntly, though unmanaged it can turn into the first kind faster than a bad American remake can hit the screens. It’s the insidious kind of depression that sneaks into your thoughts without tripping your internal alarms. It creeps in an begins to colour your thoughts about anything and everything. It’s the kind that makes you know for a fact that that girl could never be interested in you, that you’d never get that job, or that your family are utterly ashamed of you. It’s like that feeling of waiting for a text after a first date multiplied a thousandfold. This is the kind of depression that really has the potential to undermine your well-being. If you don’t identify it as the malign presence it is as early as possible, you never know how many thoughts or decisions it could have effected in the interim.

One also finds that the holes that are already there in the psyche can invite in this monster. Just like going to see Stephen King’s It with a pre-existing clown phobia* will leave you more afraid that you might be otherwise, so too can pre-existing neuroses allow in the Indie Depression DemonTM.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Hollywood BreakdownAlso TM, but the Indie Bastard is constantly on my back, threatening to find a hole in my defences. I think he found one earlier, but I was expecting it (from prior experience) and I’m fighting it even as we speak. My guard’s up, but the little twat is behind it. Now all  I have to do is take the blows and wait until I can give him a taste of his own medicine.

Anyway, yeah. Back to silly challenge questions tomorrow. 🙂

*Coulrophobia if you’re interested.


On Starting a Course of Anti-Depressants*

To catch up those who don’t know, I was diagnosed with depression a year or two ago after I took a breakup particularly hard. I’ve always been emotional, but I was starting to hit some dangerous lows, so I was started on a course of drugs.

A few months ago, I made the decision to stop. I actually felt better off the drugs. My head was clearer, I was enjoying unfiltered emotions and I thought I was good to go.

Then, this last month, I hit a low I was really struggling to get out of. Everything with my new girlfriend, my job and my ex-girlfriend was a deep personal slight, even when not meant as such. I figured it would pass. I was wrong.

After self-harming during a fight with my gf, I decided it was time to go back onto the drugs. Since they’re available here in Mexico like candy, I chose the drug I had entered the country using, rather than the ones I had experimented with since. I guess I’ve decided that the mental clarity is not worth the difficulty I’ve been having in dealing with my lows.

The thing is, as it’s been explained to me, it’s not a massively understood science. One drug will affect different people in different ways and levels of intensity. They also demand a week or three for the body to get used to them. This means that right now, my brain is muddy, pessimistic and more than a little nihilistic. The second death of my laptop last night kept we awake for two hours I really needed for sleep. The best emotion I can manage at the moment is distraction. I’m not even sure that is an emotion.

I’m having difficulty concentrating or working (the latter more so than even my usual lazy self gives me), my always-irritable digestive system is being very angry and political at the moment, while I wander through life in a half-awake daze.

I really need this drug to communicate with my body soon, or –

Something moved in the corner of my eye and I lost the end of that sentence. The thing is, I’m feeling kind of numb, which means I’m less likely to self-harm. I’m also less likely to enjoy anything right now. Just ticking along is a bit of a struggle at the moment. No, not struggle. It’s just so slow. Everything seems snail-like in both speed and importance.

Ew – let’s leave the emo-imagery for the moment, shall we?

Since my laptop is dead again, I’ll be spending the weekend watching videos on YouTube and reading “Kushiel’s Dart” because Felicia Day told me to. I’ll try to do it in the sun at some point, since conventional wisdom is that the sunshine helps. It’s one thing that’s certainly not in short supply here in Mexico. I just wish my mood matched.



*The next post will be based on something entertaining. I promise.